Poplar River Power Station, Coronach, Saskatchewan. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

REGINA – On July 31, at 4:55 p.m., SaskPower observed a new summer demand record for electricity of 3,669 megawatts (MW), exceeding the previous mark set last August by 72 MW.

The new record comes as a heatwave settles in across Saskatchewan, the Crown corporation noted in a release. With daily highs in much of the province anticipated to remain above 30 C for several days, it is possible that another new record could be set within the week.

“Increasing power sales and new record peak loads are strong signs of a growing province and growing economy,” said Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for SaskPower.

This summer peak came just as SaskPower is still dealing with one of its principal power stations being down as a result of flooding damage in early June.

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SaskPower spokesperson Joel Cherry told Pipeline Online, “Both units at Poplar River are down, but we hope to have Poplar River Unit 2 back up sometime next week. Crews have been working around the clock to clear debris such as mud and hay from the system, but progress has been slow because of the extent of the flooding.”

“Divers are on site clearing debris and we are pumping water through the system. Once the water runs clean through the system and we no longer see debris build-up, normal operations can resume,” he said.

As for the peak load, Cherry said the interconnections to neighbouring utilities were running full out, and strong wind was a benefit, at about 363 megawatts out of a possible 617.

At the moment of peak demand, SaskPower saw from each power source (rough numbers):

  • Natural Gas –     1400 MW
  • Coal –                   900 MW
  • Hydro –                605 MW
  • Wind –                 350 MW
  • Solar –                  15 MW
  • Other –                10 MW
  • Interconnections:
      • Manitoba –         300 MW
      • Alberta –             90 MW
      • Southwest Power Pool – 0

    The Alberta Electric System Operator indicated that at 4:57 p.m., Alberta was exporting 89 megawatts to Saskatchewan.

 

 

The highest overall peak loads in Saskatchewan are typically experienced in the winter. The all-time demand record of 3,910 MW was set on December 30, 2021.

 

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